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Previous Ministers' releases and speeches - Senator The Hon. Michael Ronaldson

Senator the Hon. Michael Ronaldson
Minister for Veterans' Affairs
Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Centenary of ANZAC
Special Minister of State

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Friday, 8 May 2015


The Minister for Veterans’ Affairs, Senator the Hon. Michael Ronaldson, today joined seven Australian veterans at the Arc de Triomphe in France at international commemorations to mark 70 years since Victory in Europe was declared during the Second World War.
“8 May 1945 was declared Victory in Europe (VE) Day after Germany signed an unconditional surrender on all fronts, bringing an official end to the Second World War in Europe, and today, 70 years on, we remember all Australians who served in the war against Germany and her European allies.”

“On the pavements at the Arc de Triomphe, the Australian veterans who all served in the European or Mediterranean theatres during the Second World War, along with their former allies, remembered this historic occasion in what was an emotional experience,” Senator Ronaldson said.

Australian men and women served in Europe and the Mediterranean from the beginning of hostilities in September 1939 until the war ended on 8 May 1945.

Fighting in the European and Mediterranean theatres came at a great cost, with some 28,000 Australians killed, wounded, or taken prisoner-of-war.

There were also acts of great courage and bravery, with eight Australians being awarded the nation’s highest military honour, the Victoria Cross (VC), during fighting against Germany and her European allies.

“The sacrifices and acts of heroism from Australians on European soil, at sea, in European skies and in the campaigns around the Mediterranean, were not in vein and will forever remain a part of our history.”

“While I am privileged to join these seven Australian veterans here in France, I want to encourage all Australians, whether at home or abroad, to pay their respects this VE Day and remember all those who served our nation,” Senator Ronaldson said.

Editor’s note: Follow the veterans on Facebook at Anzac Centenary, Twitter at @dvaaus and Flickr at DVA Aus when in France and London. Veteran biographies, images, historical background and other resources are available at the DVA Media Centre.

For interviews with veteran representatives contact or +61 (0)419 120 908.

Media enquiries:
Minister Ronaldson: Mark Lee 02 6277 7820 or 0408 547 381
Department of Veterans’ Affairs Media: 02 6289 6203

Veteran representatives in France and the United Kingdom for VE Day commemorations
Name Location Age on mission Unit/Service
Mr Eric Barton NSW 92 No. 186 Squadron, RAF
Mr John Bell VIC 97 No. 216 Squadron, RAF
Mr Norman Ginn SA 91 No. 460 Squadron, RAF
Mr Peter Jensen NSW 93 No. 461 Squadron, RAF
Mr Alexander Kerr WA 93 No.115 Squadron, RAF
Mr Mervyn Reece QLD 91 No. 461 Squadron, RAF
Mr John Shannon VIC 90 RAF Base Waddington

Veterans and Veterans Families Counselling Service (VVCS) and Veterans Line can be reached 24 hours a day across Australia for crisis support and free and confidential counselling. Phone 1800 011 046

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